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Integrating Mindfulness Meditation into Sport Therapy

Mohammed, Warhel Asim Mohammed (2018) Integrating Mindfulness Meditation into Sport Therapy. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:70200)

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Since 1979, once Kabat-Zinn developed Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), gradual changes in the domain of health have been observed. Hence, the flow of mindfulness into numerous fields of scientific research. One of fields which mindfulness meditation (MM) has been integrated into is sport. Many investigations have successfully documented how MM can enhance athletes' performance, as well as improving their negative mood state. Notably, the majority of this research has focused on sport performance. Despite the promising theory, there has been no experimental study regarding the increase in pain tolerance (PT), reduction of perception of pain (PP) and psychological distress for athletes once they have become injured.

The Cold Pressor Test (CPT) had been used to discover the effectiveness of MM regarding physical pain with injured athletes (IA). Additionally, this was conducted in order to understand whether MM could benefit them with their condition. Therefore, a commonly used meditation technique, based on MBSR, had been used as an intervention during the period of recovery with IA. The first study set out to determine the role of MM training in increasing pain tolerance, reducing the perception of pain, mindful attention, reducing anxiety/stress and improving mood state. The experimental data found that PP increased in CPT for IA who received 8 weeks of formal and informal MM training. However, no reductions in CPT were observed in PP. Quantitative findings showed that mindful attention had significantly changed for IA in the intervention group. There was also an improvement in the control group, even though they had not received MM. This is might be due to the physiotherapy treatment that had increased their level of awareness.

MM had also been investigated with therapists (physiotherapists and sport therapists) in the second study, through both formal and self-directed practise. Questionnaire assessments of MM were collected from 29 therapists who were involved in 4 weeks of the MM program from different countries and methods of practice. It was important to note that the process of data collection was through a website that was developed only for research purposes. There were two research questions that were investigated. The first was Does MM increase therapists' body-awareness and reduce their burnout in the workplace? Additionally, it looked at the positive effect of MM on their personal attitudes after 4 weeks of formal and self-directed practise. The second research question aimed to understand which methods (face-to-face and Skype (FFG) with an instructor or self-directed (SDG), MM program were more effective with therapists. The findings indicated that there was a positive effect of MM in increasing their body-awareness through the MAIA scale, particularly attention-regulation, self-regulation and trusting and BST personal-achievement for therapists in the FFG. As such, the findings found a significant improvement in FFMQ in acting with awareness, the PANAS positive affect and SCBC. As a result of these findings, therapists who practised MM face to face with an instructor obtained more benefits compared to their peers in the SDG.

In previous studies, MM had been investigated through both experimental and quantitative methods. In order to aid further understanding about the effect of MM, a qualitative approach was implemented with both clinical and non-clinical populations through semi structured interviews. Two research questions were examined with both IA and therapists. In the third study, the qualitative study sought to understand and explain what experiences the "injured athletes" had experienced during the eight weeks' formal and self-directed MM program. In the last study of this thesis, the qualitative investigation sought to discover what the therapists' perceptions of the effectiveness of the MM program were.

Taken together, both IA and therapists emphasised that the MM program had positively affected their attitudes after their participation. With regard to IA experiences', MM is a suitable mental training that can be used during the sport rehabilitation process (SRP). On the other side, the therapists stressed that MM is an effective strategy to use in the workplace and at home.

The findings of this thesis provide a better understanding of practising MM in both clinical and non-clinical populations in sport. This is in addition to the variety of methods that were used to assess MM in all the studies. Consequently, this novel work in sport could contribute towards a broad theoretical and practical foundation in future research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Pappous, Athanasios (Sakis)
Thesis advisor: Sharma, Dinkar
Uncontrolled keywords: Injured athletes, Mindfulness Meditation, Pain Tolerance, Physiotherapists, sport therapists, body-awareness, burnout
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Sport and Exercise Sciences
Funders: [UNSPECIFIED] Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research-Kurdistan Regional Government-Iraq
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2018 09:10 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2021 00:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Mohammed, Warhel Asim Mohammed.

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